HC Deb 12 April 2002 vol 383 cc643-4W
Andy King

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) what sums have been paid out in each of the last 10 financial years to solicitors acting for Mr. Malcolm Robert Ross in litigation related to Mr. Ross's bankruptcy and involving disputes with Stonewood Securities Limited and its shareholders; and what sums have been received back from other parties to the litigation in costs recovery; [48064]

(2) if he will request a report from the Legal Services Commission on the handling of the request for funding by Mr. Malcolm Robert Ross. [48067]

Ms Rosie Winterton

I have requested a report from the Legal Services Commission (LSC). According to their records, Mr. Ross has been granted a number of civil legal aid certificates. These cases relate either to Mr Ross's bankruptcy or involve disputes with Stonewood Securities Limited. One case has been concluded; the others are ongoing. As all the certificates are material to ongoing litigation, the LSC cannot provide details of payments made to the solicitors in connection with the closed case.

In respect of the ongoing litigation, the Commission has not yet received final bills from the solicitors involved and so, in any event, is not in a position to provide information about sums paid out. Normally, only when the actions have been concluded and the solicitor's bills assessed would meaningful figures be available on the costs of the proceedings. If the cases are successful, an order for costs in the individual's favour could be made and the Commission reimbursed.

Most of the certificates predate the implementation of the Access to Justice Act 1999 which significantly reduced the scope for funding cases which arise out of the carrying on of a business.